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153 Perish In Lagos Plane Crash …Shekarau, Aikhomu, Others Listed On Dana Manifest

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A plane carrying 153 people plunged into a residential area of Nigeria’s largest city, Lagos yesterday, with all those aboard dead, an inferno blazing at the scene and a number of structures badly damaged.

According to a  rescue official, the number of the bodies being taken away had been people killed on the ground rather than passengers.

An official with the National Emergency Management Agency said the plane had hit two buildings: a church and a two-storey residential structure.

“The plane is still burning as I speak with you, and there is smoke all over the place,” he said.

Thick smoke rose from the area near Lagos airport and flames could be seen coming from a two-storey building. Residents said the plane had been coming in low, making a loud noise, when it slammed into the residential area.

Some residents said it appeared that the plane nose-dived into the neighbourhood.

The cause of the crash was not immediately clear, though an official from Nigeria’s rescue agency and an aviation official said the cockpit recorder had been located and handed over to the  police.

Wreckage including a detached wing could be seen in the neighbourhood as the inferno burned. Residents reported seeing bodies being taken out of the area as rescue workers rushed in and a helicopter landed.

“The plane is still burning and gas coming out pervades the whole place, making search and rescue efforts difficult,” Tunji Oketunbi, a spokesman for Nigeria’s accident investigation bureau, told AFP from the scene.

Hundreds of residents swarmed the area to see what had happened.

“It was a Dana (airline) flight out of (the capital) Abuja to Lagos with about 153 people on board,” head of civil aviation, Harold Demuren said.

Asked if anyone likely survived the crash he said, “I don’t believe there are any survivors.”

Lagos State police spokesman Joseph Jaiyeoba said the plane went down in the Iju neighbourhood on the mainland of the city where the bulk of the city’s population lives.

Hundreds of residents swarmed the area to see what had happened.

“It was flying low with a lot of noise for about five minutes before it crashed into the residential area,” one resident said. “It then burst into flames.”

Another resident, Tunji Dawodu, said “I was just coming out of church around 3:30 pm when I heard a loud noise.”

“I thought it was an explosion,” he said. “Then there was a huge flame from the building where the plane  crashed into.”

A spokesman for Nigerian airline Dana confirmed one of its planes was involved in the crash but could not immediately provide further details.

“I can confirm that one of our planes crashed today on the outskirts of Lagos,” Tony Usidamen said, adding “We lost communication with the aircraft. We are going to issue an official statement.”

Nigeria has a spotty aviation record, though Dana has been considered to be a relatively safe domestic airline.

It began flights in November 2008 and had been operating up to 27 daily flights using a fleet of MD-83 aircraft, according to information on its website.

Its aircraft make daily flights between Abuja, Calabar, Lagos, Port Harcourt and Uyo.

This latest incident came after another plane crashed on Saturday night in the capital of the nearby West African nation of Ghana, which saw a cargo plane overshoot a runway and hit a passenger bus, killing at least 10 people.

The Allied Air cargo plane had departed from Lagos and was to land in Accra.

Lagos, the largest city in Africa’s most populous nation, is home to an estimated 15 million people. Built around a lagoon on the Atlantic coast, it is thought to be the largest city in Africa.

In a similar development, grieving family members gathered at a morgue in Ghana’s capital Accra yesterday after a cargo plane overshot an airport runway and crashed into a passenger bus, killing at least 10 people.

The four crew members from the Boeing 727 Allied Air cargo plane survived Saturday night’s accident, and Ghanaian President John Atta Mills visited at least two of them at the clinic where they were being treated.

The two men were in hospital beds as the president arrived, one with visible bruises on his arm and face.

“I pray that all of you have survived and wish you speedy recovery,” Mills said, but did not speak directly to reporters.

At a military hospital morgue where the bodies of victims had been taken, family members gathered to identify remains and spoke of their grief.

“My life has been destroyed,” a teary-eyed Zenab Ayesha, the wife of one of the victims, told AFP. “He was my husband, and the breadwinner of the family is gone.”

She said she heard from a friend that her husband was among the dead.

“I was waiting for him to come back from work and he did not show up,” Ayesha said.

Fred Aneba, who was at the morgue to identify his 27-year-old brother, called his death “a disaster for my family.”

“How will I communicate the death of my brother to our 80-year-old mother? I have lost my only brother,” he said.

Meanwhile, investigation into the Dana Air crash on the outskirts of Lagos yesterday has begun, according to the Director General of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Dr Harold Demuren.

Demuren, who spoke with our correspondent on phone on Sunday, in Lagos, said that the flight originated from Abuja.

Asked if they were survivors among the passengers on board when the plane crashed, he said: “We don’t believe there are survivors.

“I am talking to you from the scene of the crash.”

He added: “Right now our thoughts and prayers are with the families.”

Meanwhile, efforts to rescue victims of the crash, which occurred at Iju, are being hampered by the presence of a huge crowd of onlookers, miscreants and sympathisers.

The inaccessibility of the crash area has also made it difficult for rescue teams, which include the police, Red Cross, Army, FRSC, Nigeria Air Force and Fire Service to get to the plane.

The General Manager, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, Dr Femi Osanyintolu, indicated that the building on which the plane landed must be collapsed for any rescue operation to take place.

He also said that they had to be cautious in collapsing the building because of the location of the site of the crash in a residential area.

The remains of Dana Airline which crashed yesterday at Iju near Lagos, killing all 153 persons on board

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90% Of Money Laundered Via Real Estate, EFCC Reveals

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says about 90 per cent of money laundering is done through the real estate sector.
The commission’s Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, stated this while featuring on Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily, yesterday,
According to him, although the sector is monitored via the special control unit, more needed to be done.
According to Bawa, “One of the problems we have now is the real estate. 90 to 100 per cent of the resources are being laundered through the real estate.”
He said there are so many issues involved, but that they were working with the National Assembly to stop what he called “the gate keepers” as there would be reduction in looting if there is no one to launder the money.
Bawa, the EFCC boss, gave an example of a minister who expressed interest in a $37.5million property a bank manager put up for sale.
He said, “The bank sent a vehicle to her house and in the first instance $20million was evacuated from her house.
“They paid a developer and a lawyer set up a special purpose vehicle, where the title documents were transferred into.
“And he (the lawyer) is posing as the owner of the property. You see the problem. This is just one of many; it is happening daily.”
The EFCC chairman also revealed that he receives death threats often.
Asked to respond to President Muhammadu Buhari’s frequent “Corruption is fighting back” expression, Bawa said he was in New York, USA, last week, when someone called to threaten him.
“Last week, I was in New York when a senior citizen received a phone call from somebody that is not even under investigation.
“The young man said, ‘I am going to kill him (Bawa), I am going to kill him’.
“I get death threats. So, it is real. Corruption can fight back,” he said.
On corruption in the civil service, he said there were a lot of gaps, especially in contracts processing, naming “emergency contracts” as one.
Bawa said, “A particular agency is notorious for that. They have turned all their contracts to emergency contracts.”
However, he said, EFCC has strategies in place to check corruptions, one of which is “corruption risk assessments of MDAs”.
According to him, “I have written to the minister and would soon commence the process of corruption risk assessments of all the parastatals and agencies under the Ministry of Petroleum Resources to look at their vulnerability to fraud and advise them accordingly.”
Asked if the scope of corruption in the country overwhelms him, Bawa, the EFCC boss said, “Yes, and no.”

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We’ve Spent N9bn To Upgrade RSUTH, Wike Confirms

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The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, says his administration has spent N9billion in upgrading structures and installation of new equipment at the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital (RSUTH).
He said the fact that 40 per cent of the 2021 budget of the state is dedicated to provision of quality healthcare delivery was a further demonstration of the priority placed on the sector.
Wike made the explanation at the foundation laying ceremony for the construction of a Renal Centre at RSUTH, last Friday.
The governor said he made promise to Rivers people that the best would be provided to them in all sectors of the society within his capability because of the mandate they gave to him.
“As we came on here, I just looked around and I see the changes in this teaching hospital. I can say that we have put not less than N9billion in this teaching hospital.
“If you look at the budget, the health sector alone, what it’s taking from the Rivers State Government is not less than 40 percent of the 2021 budget.”
Speaking further, Wike said the state government cannot afford to implement free medical service programme in the present economic circumstance.
While dismissing the request for a subvention for RSUTH, Wike, however, commended the chief medical director and his team for their commitment to turnaround the fortunes of RSUTH.
“I have never seen anywhere that health services can be totally free. They’re telling me that people who come here can’t pay. I have never declared that this state is going to take over the health fees of anybody.”
Also speaking, the former Minister of Transport, Dr. Abiye Sekibo, who performed the flag-off, noted that Wike’s achievements in the health sector in particular, surpass what former governors of the state had done.
Sekibo said that the governor has given equal attention to every section of the health sector by providing complete health infrastructure that was positioning the state as a medical tourism destination in Nigeria.
Earlier, the Rivers State Commissioner for Health, Prof Princewill Chike, lauded Governor Nyesom Wike for his interest in the health of Rivers people.
He noted that the renal centre, when completed, would become another landmark development project in the health sector that would handle and manage all kidney-related ailments.
In his remarks, the Chief Medical Director of the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital, Dr. Friday Aaron, commended Wike for approving the renal centre.
Aaron explained that chronic kidney disease was a major burden globally with estimated 14 million cases in Nigeria.
According to him, over 240,000 of these cases require renal replacement therapy in the form of dialysis and renal transplant.
The CMD said the building that would house the centre was expected to be completed in six months and consists of two floors.
The ground floor, according to him, would house the haemodialysis unit with eight haemodialysis machines.
He further explained that the first floor of the centre would house the surgical component where most of the sophisticated equipment for kidney transplant would be installed.
Aaron said Wike has released the funds required to build, equip the centre as well as for the training of personnel locally and internationally.

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Power Generation Falls 23% To 3,172MW

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Power supply in Nigeria has failed to improve on last week’s performance, as it fell by 22.9 per cent from peak generation of 4,115Megawatts on Saturday to 3,172.20MW as at 5pm, yesterday, latest data from the System Operator has shown.
According to the data, most power plants were operating far below capacity due to gas shortage with Olorunsogo Power Plant 335MW capacity; and Sapele Power Plant, 450MW capacity; completely out.
Egbin was generating at 746MW; Omoku 37.20; Omotosho (NIPP) at 105MW; while Afam was generating at 80MW.
The data showed that on the average power generation in the past seven days were 4,120.9MW on Sunday, June 6; 4,249.4 on Monday, June 7; 4,000.9MW on Tuesday, June 8; 3,720.7 on Wednesday, June 9; 3,517 on Thursday, June 10; 3,765MW on Friday, June 11; and 4,115MW on Saturday, June 12.
The International Oil Companies (IOCs), had last warned that despite Nigeria’s huge gas reserves a lot needs to be done to attract investment to the sector to develop gas reserves to boost power generation in the country.
Speaking at the just concluded Nigeria International Petroleum Summit, the Chair, Shell Companies in Nigeria/MD SPDC, Osagie Okunbor, said with 203trillion Cubic Feet of gas reserves, what was needed in the country is to deliver projects that would produce the gas.
“The challenge is not just growing the reserves but in producing these reserves for the benefits of our country. Essentially growing the reserves and delivering on the production is a function of two or three elements.
“I like to see infrastructure that is required for the development of these resources at two levels. Soft infrastructure is often the one that is more important than and that is the one that is actually drives most of what you see at site.”
“Soft infrastructure refers to the enabling environment and nothing pleases me as much seeing both the Senate President and the speaker of the house give very firm commitments about trying to pass the PIB this month.
“That is probably the big one of the enabling environment to provide the kind of stability we also need all sorts of other issues we need to that we have discussed severally in terms of sanctity of contract, stable policies and collaboration and I think we are well on our way there”, he added.

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